We learned last Monday about the tragic accidental death of David Hepner, one of our 2009 graduates. He was riding in a truck with two other graduates, passing the home of yet another graduate. The news and suddenness has shocked and rocked our community, but the unique fabric of a Sudbury school has already begun to show.
We had an informal discussion in front of the impromptu memorial in the Chesapeake Room Tuesday, with many staff and student remembrances of David. Several community members with grief counseling experience and training have been volunteering to offer support to both current School Meeting members and alumni. Like in other communities, people are volunteering to pitch in as these multiple families cope with crisis and loss.
What’s been unmistakable is how helpful our structure is for adjusting to life’s vicissitudes; thank goodness we do not have to compartmentalize grief and sadness, that we can just talk about it when we want and where we want.
As we continue, we are buoyed by David’s ebullient spirit, and by our fond memories of him: his gusto on the soccer field; his kind, loving relationship with the younger students; his remarkable capacity for spontaneous joy (even in his last act, according to witnesses); his profound love for his friends; his quick smile. Although there is no explanation for the tragedy of a nineteen-year-old dying, we offer our appreciation for knowing him and for this caring, human community in which we mourn his loss.